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Separating the foundation from the man

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THOUSAND OAKS, Calf. – To say it has been a difficult year for Tiger Woods the man, and the brand, is an understatement of painful proportions. By contrast, 2010 was something of a banner, if not difficult season, for the Tiger Woods Foundation.

The AT&T National tournament, which benefits the foundation, set records for attendance and charitable contributions according to Greg McLaughlin, the foundation’s president and chief executive officer, and the foundation opened a pair of Tiger Woods Learning Center facilities in Washington, D.C., last month to go with the original center in Anaheim.

Not that holding two events, including this week’s Chevron World Challenge, and running a multi-million dollar charitable foundation was easy amid the controversy of the last year, but McLaughlin said companies and fans were able to separate the foundation from the man.

“Everyone believed in what we were doing, and we actually grew this year,” Woods said. “With everything that's gone on, our foundation grew.”

AT&T, for example, dropped its sponsorship of Woods last December in the wake of the ongoing scandal but remained involved in his foundation via the company’s sponsorship of the AT&T National event.

“(AT&T) were in the line of fire in December with Tiger but they stayed with the foundation because of the work we have done and the things we have accomplished,” McLaughlin said. “The foundation brand got better. We were able to pull together as a group and people rallied around that.”